Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Greeting Cards Decluttered

A large portion of our keepsakes are greeting cards and letters. In recent years, we have sent fewer cards and also kept far fewer of any that we have received. My husband and I have cards and letters going back to when we were dating! And that is more than a quarter of a century ago...nearly 26 years ago to be exact.

Did you know it is hard to read the things you wrote when you were 18? Well, for me a lot of it is. I can see the immaturity and maybe a little insecurity as well. Although, I can see the self confidence, too. That's good at least!

The good news is most of the cards are no longer in their envelopes. But some are. Those are trash right there. Although, the postmark on the envelope did at times help me to figure out the date something was sent. We each did a pretty good job of dating our correspondence. How nice of our younger selves to think of such things.

In a pile of cards, that I thought were only from my husband's first deployment, I found at least one years worth of Christmas cards and letters! Yikes. I generally don't keep those any more, so it was a surprise to come upon them. And luckily, after a quick pass, they were easy to let them go.

My goal isn't to get rid of all of them, but to get rid of the one that have far less meaning than the others. So this month the goal is to really weed out the cards and letters that we can't imagine keeping. For the most part, I'm just going with my gut on these. I'm probably not tossing enough, but I figure it's okay to save if I'm not sure. I don't want to regret getting rid of any.

Yesterday, I didn't really want to work on this project. But it's my goal for the month. I know in the end I will feel so much better having completed it. I decided that at a minimum I could set a timer for 15 minutes and go through as much of one stack of cards as I could. And my little trick worked on me. Once I set my timer I got to work knowing I only had to work on it for 15 minutes. I made it about two thirds of the way through the pile in that time. I almost stopped right then. But I figured I could get through the remaining third without much more time or effort so I finished up the pile I had in my lap. It feel so go to accomplish a little task, particularly when I wasn't really up to it to begin with.

Because the first stack went so well, I took a break, but came back to another pile of cards. That one didn't get reduced quite as far, but there were plenty that could be tossed. Just like other paperwork, sometimes it takes several passes through to know that you have just the right things to keep.

I've been keeping the cards, for the most part, in the piles or containers I have found them. Unfortunately, they are really mixed up. Cards my husband sent to our daughters mixed in with cards I gave him for his birthday and Father's Day. In that case, I did pull out those letters for the girls. I haven't decided yet, how best to keep some of the remaining cards. That task is for later. Right now reducing the amount of cards and letters we have is first.

It's been interesting. This decluttering and purging of keepsakes. The cards are interesting, but there are far too many. And so many that for the most part say very similar things. I really think the fewer we keep the more special those few will be. And even more likely we would look at them.

The finally tally of cards, letters, envelopes and a few pictures this time around was 139! And there are still so many, many more left. But I'm calling the progress a success.

Year to date decluttering was 500. Add in eleven items I didn't previously record here, plus the 139 various cards and letters, new total is 650!! Amazing. 

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